Clinton Edgar Woods

American engineer

Clinton Edgar Woods (February 7, 1863 - 1930) was an electrical and mechanical engineer, inventor, manufacturer of automobiles in Chicago and New York City, and author of one of the first books on electric vehicles.

C.E. Woods, 1902



The Electric Automobile (1900)


Clinton E. Woods (1900) The Electric Automobile: Its Construction, Care and Operation. H. S. Stone & co. in Chicago, New York. Re-published 1988, 2008

Electric automobile, 1900
  • The basic value of any proposition is its commercial aspect, and naturally the first query of inventor, capitalist and layman is : "What conditions exist that will make a market for automobiles or create a desire in the public mind for their use?" Some will say progression, the spirit of which surrounds us everywhere; others say, expediency and the desire for saving- minutes and even seconds; others, again, their convenience and readiness for instant use; all of which are true but do not in a broad sense answer the question, but create another as to what has made all these things desirable on the part of the public as things necessary to its comfort and welfare.
    • p. 1, First paragraph of first chapter entitled "General conditions surrounding the introduction and use of automobiles"
  • When we review all that has been done by mechanical devices toward the displacement of animal power, it is very hard to refrain from drawing a conclusion that the horse must go; that is, speaking in the broad sense of the word. Mechanically propelled vehicles for all purposes are here.
    • p. 3; Cited in: Imes Chui (2006) The Evolution from Horse to Automobile: A Comparative International Study. p. 81
  • The simplicity attached to the operation of an electric vehicle by any person of ordinary intelligence is too well known to need comment at this point ; but it is found from experience that there is the same difference in the care taken of an electric vehicle that there is among men who attend dynamos and steam engines, or drive horses, with a corresponding difference in troubles and aggravations.
    • p. 14; Cited in: Imes Chui (2006, p. 106)
  • The unsightly appearance of automobiles has been commented upon this country a great deal.
    • p. 31; Cited in: Imes Chui (2006, p. 57)

Organizing a factory (1905)


Clinton E. Woods (1905). Organizing a factory: an analysis of the elements in factory organization, a presentation of the fundamental principles of factory management, and a description of the methods to be used in every department of factory operation The System Company, Chicago. (2e ed. 1907)

  • Nowhere in the world of business at the present moment are conditions and methods changing more rapidly than in the work shop and factory itself. The application of new methods of processing, the invention of new tools, and the use of new combinations of cutting steels, are some of the things that in themselves are revolutionizing not only factory practice, but the character and skill of the labor employed; which results in a tendency toward a vast increase in output per capita. These things are in turn all forcing new methods and ways into industrial administration.
    • p. 1; First paragraph of the first chapter
  • Factories today are being run less and less by the authority of experience only, and more and more by the authority of figures and facts. The superintendent and manager of long experience and intuitive knowledge only is forced to make room for the younger man, of less experience, perhaps, but who modernizes his work by the jurisdiction of figures alone.
    • p. 1
I: Prime Organization Elements of an Industrial Body, 1905
II:Segregation of an Industrial Body into Authorities and Departments
III: Prime and Working Authorities of an Industrial Body, 1905
  • The writer has found, in analyzing and diagnosing organization and accounting work, that charts can express more on one page than is sometimes expressed in several chapters of writing, and has been the author and originator of many methods of charting industrial expressions. It is necessary, as a first step, for analytical and other purposes, to make a chart expressing all of the relations governing the organization of a business so as to show the very foundation upon which all authorities, accounting, and business transactions are based and conducted. There have been more failures scored both personally and financially for lack of these very elements in a business than by reason of any other one thing. As well try to build a house without a foundation as to try to conduct a business, especially a manufacturing business, without proper organization.
    • p. 23-24
  • The actual manufacture of material into a specific product is a sort of digestive process which must have a functioning organization purposed to meet the required ends, just as the human body has, and it is governed by similar conditions. It must also be directed by a specific intelligence and must have internal and external avenues of correspondence to keep it alive; and, like a living organism, must adhere to the eternal economy of things and show a profit by its activities or it cannot progress.
    To exemplify this in a simple way, the writer has laid out Figure I, showing the prime elements composing the anatomy of an industrial body. One does not have to draw on the imagination very far to make a comparison of this anatomy with that of man. It has its mind, will power, and brain to direct it, as indicated by the stockholders, directors and executive officers, a heart which keeps in flow the circulating medium internally ; and avenues of correspondence with the outside world which furnish to it the very elements of existence.
    This chart shows first, that the stockholders are simply elements belonging to the general public who have made an investment for some specific purpose; second, that immediately after this, the election of directors sets into action the first internal factor in the body, which is then divided into different functioning powers by the election of executive officers.
    • p. 24
  • Figure II, which is one of the most interesting and valuable charts made by the writer in his work for the larger industrials. While it is reduced here to the simplest possible expression, it at the same time contains all of the elements which govern the laying out of an organization of any magnitude. This is the Chart of Prime and Working Authorities, showing exactly where each authority is related to the others and how far each authority may extend in the business.
    The writer has retained in this chart the administrative, commercial and manufacturing sections in the Authorities for Position as exhibited in Figure I, and Industrial has separated these different sections into purpose of showing how the authorities governing different departments are related to the industrial body as a whole.
    • p. 25-26

Industrial organization (1914)


Clinton E. Woods (1914) "Charting authorities in the industrial body" in: Industrial organization. A.W. Shaw Company.

  • Organization aims to unite individuals into a body which shall work together for a common end. Specifically, organization prepares for the transaction of business by electing and appointing officers and committees, delegating authorities and bringing into systematic connection and cooperation, each and every part of the industrial body. Right organization, in short, puts vitality into the entire factory, secures the efficient working-together of all employees, from the manager's office to the mechanic's bench, routes materials, sub-divides work, inspects output and delivers the right goods, fully processed, at the shipping room door on the correct delivery date.
    • p. 24
  • In analyzing organization work, a single chart can frequently express more than any amount of detailed written explanation. First of all, clearly define author- ities within your establishment ; then chart those authorities simply and graphically, so that every workman knows to whom he is responsible, and every executive knows who is responsible to him. Place this chart conspicuously in every department where each employee can see it. In case of disputed authority, final proof is immediately at hand. There is then no loop-hole through which a neglectful workman, foreman or executive can crawl no longer does he have the excuse that he thought somebody else was going to do it. In clean-cut form, his duties and relations to other men of the organization are laid down once and for all, and responsibility rests on the right man. Failure so to specify responsibilities inevitably means confusion all down the line.
    • p. 24-25

Quotes about Clinton Edgar Woods

Clinton E. Woods (1894)
  • Clinton E. Woods... has become well known to electrical workers in the West during the last few years. Mr. Woods was born in Massachusetts in 1863, and at an early age was left an orphan and obliged to earn a living and acquire an education as best he might. In 1886 he drifted into steam and electrical work, being first identified with the local central station at Pittsfield, Mass; afterward at Peekskill and Newburg, N. Y. From this he worked at general construction and engineering until 1889, entered the employment of the National Electric Manufacturing Company, Eau Claire, Wis., as its inspecting engineer, and served in that capacity until 1892, when he was made electrician-in-chief. This position he held until the spring of 1893, when he entered the Standard Electric company of Chicago. His work has won for him reputation and prominence in the electrical field. He has designed for this company a complete line of arc, alternating and constant potential dynamos, motors, etc., such accessories as transformers and instruments for perfecting the system, during the last twelve months.
    Mr. Woods is not only an electrician but a manufacturer, having advanced many improved methods of manufacturing dynamo-electric machinery, which have greatly enhanced the value of his work from an artistic and mechanical standpoint. From the knowledge and ability Mr. Woods has displayed and opportunity for results which are in his possession, much is looked for from his future work. track.
    • Western Electrician (1894). Vol 14-15. p. 244 (online)
  • Clinton Edgar Woods was the son of a coach builder and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in mechanical and electrical engineering. He was one of the few American electric car pioneers to focus attention on the utilitarian application of electric traction right from its beginning in 1897. Woods set up the American Electric Vehicle Company with the support of none other than Samuel Insull, the "utility car" of Chicago, and a number of "Standard Oil magnates".
    • Gijs Mom (2004) The Electric Automobile: Its Construction, Care, and Operation. p. 29
  • C.E. Woods would perhaps be described by Law as a "heterogeneous engineer" who marshaled physical as well as social resources to help build an automotive industry.
    • Imes Chui (2006) The Evolution from Horse to Automobile: A Comparative International Study. p. 142
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